Can breast milk be used for other functions besides nutrition for newborns? Studies show that breastfeeding babies can provide many benefits during the first year of the infant’s life. However, some people also use mother’s milk for other applications like breast milk for eye infection. Some studies show this natural remedy can work and even better than prescription meds like antibiotics. However, there isn’t much research about this DIY treatment so it’s critical to know the details about this treatment. That includes possible risks and side-effects so you can use natural treatment as effective as possible. You should be careful about any eye medicine you use.
Breastfeeding is very popular during the first months of a baby’s life. Nearly 85% of all newborns are breast-fed during this time. It’s full of nutrients that can provide babies with the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes they need for physical/mental development. However, the idea of using human milk as an eye medicine is a completely different issue. There’s been some research to show it might help to treat eye infections and unblock tear ducts. However, there haven’t been many studies done about the health benefits of breast milk for functions besides feeding babies. So, it’s important to take a closer look.
How Healthy Is Breast Milk?
It would seem logical that breast milk is healthy. It’s produced naturally by a mother after giving birth. Studies show that a mother’s milk provides more nutrients than milk formulas. So, if you want to provide your little one with the most nutrients then you should consider breastfeeding.
Health experts generally suggest that newborns be breast-fed for the first 6 months of their lives. When possible it’s best to continue breastfeeding until the baby’s first birthday.
What’s so important about the first 6 months? Mother’s milk provides all the nutrients a young baby needs during that time. In fact, the nutrient content of the baby even changes during that time to provide specific nutrients during that time.
Here’s how. After birth, the mother’s breasts make a thick/yellow fluid that’s called “colostrum.” It’s high-protein, low-sugar, and super-healthy. This natural milk is helpful to develop the baby’s digestive tract.
Then after the first couple of days, the mother’s breasts make bigger quantities of milk. This happens as the baby develops a bigger stomach.
During the little one’s first year you can start introducing soft foods to their diet. This will add extra nutrients they don’t get from breast milk. This is an effective method to make sure your infant is getting all the needed nutrients for growth.
Health Benefits Of Breastmilk
Breast milk is high-nutrient. However, it might be somewhat low in Vitamin D unless the mother consumes a lot. There’s an easy fix. You can add drops of Vitamin D when the newborn is as young as 2 weeks old.
Here are some of the main nutrients/benefits found in breast milk:
- Antibodies (fight bacteria/viruses)
- Saves money/time
- Weight loss (weight gain/loss are possible)
- Lower risk of menstruation/disease/depression for mother
- Healthy weight and obesity prevention
- Contraction of mother’s uterus (returns to pre-pregnancy size)
- Brain development (based on eye contact/touch)
- Lower disease risk (breast milk-only diet)
Breast Milk for Eye Infection: Does It Work?
This might seem like an odd use for breast milk. As the above-mentioned facts show, breastfeeding provides many health benefits for the newborn baby and nursing mother. However, some people use breast milk as a natural eye medicine.
The milk is used for a few different eye disorders. They include infections and blocked tear ducts. If you want to impress your friends/family the fancy name for these infections is “conjunctivitis.”
There are many claims that this natural treatment works for eye infections. However, as always, it’s important to know what scientific studies show. Just because your Aunt Gertrude claims breast milk cures eye infections doesn’t mean it actually does.
The infection of the eye we’re talking about involves swelling around the eyelids. Some of the common symptoms include puffiness and redness.
There are various causes of this infection. “Pink eye” is the most common cause of this condition. This viral infection can be passed on to different people. Other causes include shampoo irritation and allergies.
Breast milk is also sometimes used to unblock tear ducts. This can affect the eyes of newborn babies during their first year. You should contact your baby’s doctor before using any DIY treatments for these conditions.
Some studies have been done on treating blocked tear ducts using mother’s milk. They were done in Spain, India, and Nigeria. The studies seemed to show that breast milk can help to fix blocked tear ducts. It also seemed to work better than antibiotics.
Does breast milk work to treat newborns’ eye conditions? It might but there hasn’t been much research conducted. It’s better to be on the safe side and contact your baby’s doctor.
There’s a caveat. Eye infections can cause serious damage and as noted no studies have been done on the effects of mother’s milk as a treatment for eye infections. A medical doctor can help.
Other Possible Applications of Breast Milk
This can be tough to deal with but luckily you usually get it once. If your baby gets this condition you can run some mother’s milk on the itchy skin. It’s believed that the milk can provide relief for the sin. This is definitely a plus if you’re looking for a natural remedy to use instead of store-bought lotions.
It’s possible that breast milk might help to treat various sunburn symptoms. That’s due to it being gentle on the skin.
One issue is the funky smell that the milk might cause on your skin. So, it’s something you might not want to wear when you’re out and about. That said, why not use it as a home remedy that you—well, use at home?
It seems that the mother’s milk might also help to treat diaper rash. It should be applied a couple of times per day. It seems to help to soothe the rash and help to treat symptoms like redness and swelling. The milk might also help to treat something called “eczema.”
Some breast milk might be helpful for treating a baby’s infected eye. This is caused by the viral infection often known as pink eye. It doesn’t seem that studies have been done about this specific use of milk for this purpose.
The big question is whether the milk can treat eye styes better than biotics. However, many mothers claim it can, based on their use of natural treatment.
It’s believed that breast milk could help to clear up a child’s ear infection. This is due to the antibodies contained in the milk. These are useful for fighting bacteria/viruses.
As with other treatments you should always contact your child’s doctor before using mother’s milk for this purpose. It’s better to be on the safe side like when using breast milk for eye infection.